Press Release Following the Local Elections
Issued 9th May 2021
Cornwall CPRE urges newly elected councillors to seize the opportunity to prioritise Cornwall’s greatest natural asset, its countryside
The 87 newly elected Councillors in Cornwall have a special opportunity to bring fresh thinking to the welfare of our green fields and landscapes, arguably Cornwall’s greatest natural asset. That’s the firm belief of Cornwall CPRE, the local branch of the countryside protection charity. It’s calling on all newly elected politicians to ensure Cornwall Council is not a slave to National Government house building targets and to see Cornwall as more than a money-making machine for developers by valuing and caring for the landscapes that make our county so special.
Cornwall CPRE says simply pumping money into the county can do as much harm as good, as can be seen by proposals to:
- build massive solar farms on agricultural land
- commit land for building that goes way beyond the current national targets
- develop evermore polluting projects like a heliport and space launching facility at Newquay
- build ever bigger arterial roads.
Richard Stubbs, Chairman of Cornwall CPRE, says, “Let’s be clear, these projects are destructive. Almost without exception, the profits go out of Cornwall and in the case of the solar farms, even to foreign governments. Now is surely a time for the new team of Councillors to vote with their consciences and put the true values of Cornwall first. A good start would be to modify or refuse planning applications in light of the true environmental impact of every proposed development. It’s time to cherish nature, wildlife habitats, landscapes and the quality of rural life – the very things that make Cornwall so special. The ability to grow food, for example, creates income for Cornwall, year-round jobs, and reduces carbon and transport miles.
“If there’s money to be spent, let’s develop the rural transport network, pay our subpostmasters more to help keep our rural Post Offices open, renovate empty buildings so they can be lived in and introduce an empty buildings tax on the owners, subsidise brownfield sites for affordable housing development, enforce regulations to stop pollution of our rivers and begin a programme to bring life back to our market towns.
Richard adds, “Finally, let’s address the seemingly unchecked expansion of the tourism industry. Everyone likes to see our visitors having a well-deserved holiday, especially at this time. But everything has its limits and surely our county and our infrastructure have reached theirs. The developers rallying cry “it brings money into Cornwall” is beginning to look like self-interest at the expense of our landscapes and environment. The revenue tourism brings into Cornwall is largely seasonal and so are the jobs. We have deserted ‘ghost’ towns and villages in winter, whilst there are insufficient homes for local people. Then, of course, there is summer gridlock.”
The message from Cornwall CPRE is a clear one: Please, newly elected councillors, consider the quality of life issues that will benefit Cornwall when you develop your policies and make your decisions. After Covid, we have a new way of thinking. Let local democracy really mean something! If you share these views, please write to your new Councillor, whose contact details will be available on the Cornwall Council website.
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